I am about to write very personal things.
Things about love. Things about the movement. Things about how sometimes, I really do not know how to tell the two apart.
I was just on the phone with my mother—I was wondering if I was a horrible person for not going to an action in solidarity with Occupy Oakland.
I told her that I was annoyed that it felt the same as everything, except no longer radical. It was the same dialogue, the same arrests, the same march routes, the same chants. It no longer feels like the movement is testing the system, or experimenting with what it can or cannot do, but adhering to the same formula, and regurgitating the same results.
I got off the phone to research a piece I’m writing, and respond to some e-mails. I sat in the kitchen, making tea and procrastinating.
Then, I heard it.
We are the 99%! We are the 99% Another world is possible! Another world is now!
It was electric, shaking the floor of my fourth floor apartment (okay, I still have to make dinner, so maybe my blood sugar is just low), but I felt the sudden rush of the need to put on my coat and boots, grab my keys, and run out the door, chasing the pure sound of the march to have That Feeling again.
Then I realized it: I was having That Feeling right there, in my kitchen. I started crying. For the first time in a while, I felt hopeful and imaginative against, rather than cynical and critical, if not depressed.
To tell the complete truth, I recently got out of a relationship—yes, it was related to #occupy. I met this person the night that the police descended, and the people were not supposed to win, but they did—my feelings about the power of the people and the power of love (or perhaps, believing in a form of sudden emotional intimacy and understanding) proceeded to mount, (perhaps dangerously) intertwined.
Both felt incredible.
I was there the night that Liberty Plaza got evicted. I was pushed against a wall and verbally harassed by a police officer and coughing out tear gas. Still, I believed in my heart that Liberty Plaza would be fine—it wasn’t until I saw the pictures on Twitter that I realized what had happened. It wasn’t until I read what happened to the People’s Library that I let myself break down in Foley Square at 3 in the morning.
I was alone that night. Very, very alone.
When Liberty Plaza got evicted, I was one of many who tried to remain hopeful about the occupation, but missed The Way Things Were dearly. Going back to Real Life and Writing About Things That Aren’t Occupy Or At Least In Some Way Radical Resistance felt disorienting and unsatisfying, and trying to justify the movement and maintain the faith that it would persist to people who were asking my “informed” opinion was even worse.
So, this relationship—which is insignificant compared to the movement, but still very much related to my experience—ended in January. Like the police eviction, it felt upsetting, shocking, and like something that I had had faith would continue got pulled from underneath me. I confronted my memories, forced myself to go to the place in Liberty Plaza where we met by chance.
In that moment, I realized that Liberty Plaza was Zuccotti Park again. It wasn’t the cradle of the revolution—it was back to a place that Wall Street traders took cigarette breaks. This felt a lot harder to accept.
There were still actions—but without the community of Zuccotti Park, many meetings feel more governed by internal politics than the collective fight to divide and conquer the one percent and radically redistribute wealth and rebuild our new world on their toxic rubble. I felt disgruntled and cynical—again.
I lost some work I had been depending on. I wasn’t writing as much. I had the kind of month where you go through Things That Make You A Radical Feminist and Things That Strengthen Your Personal Vendetta Against the System. (Yes, we know I didn’t need either of these things—but it happens sometimes). These things happen.
So, we’re back in my kitchen and the floor is shaking because the movement is crescendoing or maybe my blood sugar is low. I’m making an English Muffin in the microwave. And the movement is happening outside, and I feel it in my veins and I realize the quasi-religious, definitely spiritual feeling I get from Occupy—or just a lot of other incredible people who fervently believe in something—is happening right there in my kitchen, and I’m not going to grab my coat and run out the door this time, but next time I’ll be there from the start. Because this movement is so loud that it shouts until the cynical and disillusioned get drunk off of tremors of hope, and leave their cynical and disillusioned kitchens and pour into the streets where The Movement is happening, and The Movement doesn’t have to do with one other person but A Lot of other people and We ALL deeply, deeply need each other and each other’s love and support because we aren’t going to take the bankers’, the corporations’, the governments’, the wars’ the CYNICS’, the patriarchs’ CRAP anymore.
And we need each other right now, and we need to be receptive and communicative and loving, no matter what life has given us—because this is how we will believe so fervently in hope that it occupies our reality.
Because this is fucking happening.
I apologize for the long sentences, the too much emotional information, and the use of the F word. But if you had problems with any of these, you wouldn’t have gotten to the end of the article.